variants or rat-a-tat-tat
: a rapid succession of knocking, tapping, or cracking sounds

Examples of rat-a-tat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sorkin's high-IQ, rat-a-tat cocktail of noble sentiment, scalpel-sharp satire, and sports-as-a-metaphor-for-life drama was fueled by an innate love of language and a palpable fondness for the people who craft it for a living. Ew Staff,, 8 Jan. 2024 What surprised climate scientists wasn’t the number of storms, but their strength and rat-a-tat frequency. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 13 Oct. 2023 Just the rat-a-tat of three Caterpillar excavators gnawing through concrete signaled the beginning of the largest dam removal project in the history of the country, and perhaps the world. Melina Mara, Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2023 But California’s governor was utterly slavish in the role of dutiful party soldier, repeatedly extolling Biden’s performance with a rat-a-tat of statistics — a Newsom hallmark — on falling inflation, rising employment and other favorable barometers. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Along the way, the group is serenaded by a grieving waitress (Tracie Bennett, her voice beautifully weary) and joined by a rat-a-tat colonel (François Battiste) and a lieutenant (the exhilarating Jin Ha), who instantly falls for Fritz. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2023 The Coyote has always had a divisive sound: low-end burble, barky midrange, and raspy, rat-a-tat hammer up top. Sam Smith, Car and Driver, 25 Aug. 2023 Steele, for one, sees promise in a form of TMS known as intermittent theta-burst stimulation, which involves delivering a rat-a-tat stream of high-frequency magnetic pulses over just a few minutes. IEEE Spectrum, 11 July 2023 But starting with Covid-19, the rat-a-tat series of crises exposed with startling clarity vulnerabilities that demanded attention. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 18 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rat-a-tat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1681, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rat-a-tat was in 1681

Dictionary Entries Near rat-a-tat

Cite this Entry

“Rat-a-tat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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